Government defeats Labour's latest bid to block a no-deal Brexit: Brexit News for Thursday 13 June

Government defeats Labour's latest bid to block a no-deal Brexit: Brexit News for Thursday 13 June
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Government defeats Labour’s latest bid to block a no-deal Brexit…

The Government has defeated an attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to block a no-deal Brexit, winning a significant vote in the Commons which leaves the door open to a future Brexiteer prime minister. In a victory that will provide a major boost to Boris Johnson and other Tory candidates determined to take the UK out of the European Union by October 31, a motion seeking to seize control of the Commons agenda was defeated by 309 votes to 298. Labour had put forward a motion which sought to suspend the Standing Orders, the rules which Govern MPs in the Commons, in order to bring forward draft legislation on June 25 to block no-deal. It had been backed by Sir Oliver Letwin, the Remainer Tory MP, who was previously behind a similar backbench bill forced through the Commons earlier this year. – Telegraph (£)

  • Remainer power grab to steal Brexit control from next PM is defeated as Labour MPs defy Corbyn – The Sun
  • Labour-led bid to seize control of Commons and block no-deal Brexit defeated – Sky News

> On BrexitCentral: MPs defeat latest attempt to seize the Commons agenda and scupper Brexit – how every MP voted

…although Tory MP Dominic Grieve vows he’d bring down the Government to stop No Deal

A Tory MP has broken ranks and announced he’s prepared to bring down the government to stop a No Deal Brexit . Veteran Remainer Dominic Grieve declared he “will not hesitate” to back Labour in a no-confidence vote if needed to stop a “chaotic and appalling” exit on October 31. He declared: “I’m not going to spend my time talking to children and grandchildren later on and saying, when it came to it, I just decided to give up. I won’t do that.” The former Attorney General’s dramatic comments – made in the Commons – ramp up the chances of a general election if a Brexiteer wins power. Frontrunner Boris Johnson and other candidates have vowed to leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. But that course could leave the Tory government facing a no-confidence vote in the new PM’s first days in office. – Mirror

First ballot of Tory MPs in leadership election takes place this morning…

Conservative MPs will begin the process of choosing their new leader and the next prime minister later when a first round of voting is held in Parliament. Voting will take place by secret ballot in the Commons, with a result expected some time after 13.00 BST. Any of the 10 candidates who fails to secure at least 17 votes will be eliminated from the contest. Further ballots will be held next week, with the two most popular MPs moving to a run-off of Tory party members. The winner of the contest to succeed Theresa May is expected to be announced in the week of 22 July. – BBC News

…after Boris Johnson launched his campaign with a promise of ‘guts and courage’…

Boris Johnson promised the “guts and the courage” to take Britain out of the EU by Oct 31 as he launched his campaign to become prime minister. The former foreign secretary said the time had come “to remember our duty to the people and the reasons for the Brexit vote”. He promised to provide the “clarity” of vision needed to deliver the result of the EU referendum with or without a deal, and warned MPs they would face “mortal retribution” from voters if they tried to stop Brexit. Mr Johnson relied heavily on his record during eight years as Mayor of London as evidence that he could beat Labour at the ballot box, and after facing questions about his integrity he insisted: “I do what I promise to do as a politician.” Hours later his plans were given a huge boost when an attempt by Labour and Remain-supporting MPs to block no deal flopped in the Commons. Eurosceptics were jubilant after the effort to hijack the parliamentary timetable in order to pass legislation preventing a no deal Brexit was defeated by 309 votes to 298. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson launches Tory leadership bid warning MPs they will ‘reap the whirlwind’ if they try to thwart Brexit – ITV News

> WATCH: Boris Johnson launches his leadership campaign

…while saying he is ‘not aiming for No Deal’…

Boris Johnson has said he is “not aiming for a no-deal outcome” for Brexit at the launch of his campaign for the Tory leadership. But he said the threat of no deal was a “vital” negotiation tool and the UK “must do better” than the current deal. At his campaign launch, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Mr Johnson was “yesterday’s news”. He argued the party should not vote for “the same old insiders” and a leader from a “new generation” was needed. Meanwhile, Labour’s cross-party motion aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit being pushed through by a future prime minister was rejected by MPs. The Commons opposed the move by 309 votes to 298. Mr Johnson and Mr Javid are the last of the 10 candidates in the contest to officially launch their campaigns for the job of Conservative Party leader – and prime minister – ahead of Thursday’s first ballot of Tory MPs. – BBC News

…but that No Deal would be ‘a last resort’…

Boris Johnson has conceded that Britain would only leave the EU without a deal as “a last resort”, after a confidential cabinet note warned that the country would not be ready for a disorderly exit on October 31. The note, seen by the Financial Times, says the government needs six to eight months of work with the pharmaceutical industry “to build stockpiles of medicines by October 31”. It also says that it would take “at least 4-5 months” to improve readiness for new border checks that might be required, including the provision of financial incentives to encourage exporters and importers to register for new schemes. Mr Johnson, the favourite to become the Conservative party leader and prime minister, launched his campaign on Wednesday. He insisted the UK could not “go on kicking the can down the road with yet more delay” over Brexit. – FT (£)

…and he ‘won’t rule out suspending Parliament’ to force it through

Boris Johnson has privately assured senior Brexiteers that he will leave open the option of suspending parliament to force through a no-deal exit from the European Union, The Times has been told. The frontrunner to become the next leader of the Conservative Party has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the highly controversial move at hustings as he seeks to attract support from all wings of the party. He told MPs that he was “strongly not attracted to” the option at an event after the official launch of his campaign yesterday. The former foreign secretary was said, however, to have privately assured the hard-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) of backbenchers that he would not explicitly rule it out. Some Brexiteers have urged the next prime minister to end the parliamentary session — known as proroguing — so MPs are unable to stop a no-deal exit from the EU on October 31, which would require the Queen’s permission. – The Times (£)

Sajid Javid blasts Johnson as ‘yesterday’s news’, as he launches his leadership bid

Sajid Javid today tore into Boris Johnson and Theresa May as he urged MPs to shun “comfort choices” and pick him as the outsider candidate. Formally unveiling his campaign this afternoon the Home Secretary urged Tories to pick “tomorrow’s leader, today”. He took huge chunks out of his main rival, Mr Johnson, calling him “yesterday’s news”. “I am a change candidate,” he insisted. “Boris Johnson is yesterday’s news. He’s been around in politics, he’s achieved a lot… But I am trying to connect with the next generation and move forward with a bold agenda.” And he blasted the “same insiders with the same school ties” in another pop at the privately educated Boris. But he stayed away from too much focus on leaving the EU, saying that many people across the country care about more than just leaving the EU. He added: “A leader is not just for Christmas, or just for Brexit.” Mr Javid took a pop at his current boss, Theresa May too, saying the party has been “too timid too often… somewhere along the way we’ve lost our competence and our confidence.”- The Sun

> WATCH: Sajid Javid launches his leadership campaign

Philip Hammond claims Johnson is ‘driving Britain to a Brexit cliff-edge’

Boris Johnson is driving Britain to a Brexit “cliff-edge at speed”, Philip Hammond has warned. Moments after the former foreign secretary launched his campaign for Downing Street by attempting to portray himself as the unifying candidate who could heal the country’s Brexit divisions, the chancellor hit out at his “impossible” vow to leave the EU on October 31. At his launch event Mr Johnson said that “after three years and two missed deadlines we must leave the EU on October 31”, adding: “Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket.” Speaking at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think event in London, Mr Hammond compared committing to that deadline to driving towards a cliff-edge. He told delegates: “I don’t think it’s sensible for candidates to box themselves into a corner on this. Parliament will not allow a no-deal exit from the EU and our experience to date has suggested that it might not be that easy to agree a deal in parliament. – The Times (£)

Boris Johnson Brexit plan difficult or impossible, says Philip Hammond – Guardian

Sir Keir Starmer calls for Labour to back Remain in a new EU referendum…

The Shadow Brexit Secretary said there were “discussions” going on between senior Labour figures in a bid to thrash out a clear position on the issue. Labour bosses are split on whether or not to wholeheartedly back another referendum as a way of breaking the Brexit deadlock. In the wake of the European elections, when Labour came third behind the Brexit Party and Lib Dems, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said the party’s candidates had been let down by the party hierarchy’s refusal to explicitly support a so-called “people’s vote”. She said: “We should have said quite simply that any deal that comes out of this government should be put to a confirmatory referendum and that Remain should be on the ballot paper and that Labour would campaign to Remain.” But Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that Labour is still pushing for a general election first, with a referendum on whatever Brexit deal is passed by Parliament also an option. – PoliticsHome

…while Welsh First Minister says Corbyn should back a second referendum and campaign for Remain

Labour’s plan for a soft Brexit has “run out of road” and the party should commit to a second referendum and campaign for Remain, the first minister has said. Mark Drakeford visited Brussels on Wednesday for a meeting with Michel Barnier and other EU officials, as MPs in Westminster prepared to vote on taking control of the Brexit process. The Welsh Labour chief said the likely appointment of Boris Johnson as prime minister should “concentrate minds” and suggested that the prospect of a no-deal that his premiership raised could get a second vote over the line. “With a Conservative party leadership contest between people prepared to take even harder and harder forms of Brexit the chance of crafting the type of Brexit we have advocated has really run out of road, it’s just not there to be done,” Mr Drakeford told reporters on his visit to the EU capital. – Independent

Labour MP says he ‘made a mistake’ in not voting for Theresa May’s Brexit deal

A Labour MP has admitted he ‘made a mistake’ by not voting for Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Gareth Snell said he should have backed the agreement when it was put before the Commons for a third time, adding he would support a deal in future. He explained he would take such action as it is “inconceivable” that MPs continue avoiding making the decisions they have to make. Speaking in the Commons, Snell said ceramics firms asked him “time and time again” to back a deal so they could make preparations for the future while food manufacturers wanted him to make a decision so they could “get past stockpiling”. He said: “For three times when the opportunity presented itself to me I have not voted for a deal, the last time in March I followed my party line that I would not support the deal that was put in front of me – and I made a mistake.” – The New European

Prince Andrew says there is ‘no reason’ why business cannot survive and flourish after Brexit

Prince Andrew has said there is ‘no reason’ why business cannot flourish after Brexit and does not think it will hurt the UK’s close relationship with the United States. The Duke of York made the comments at an event called Pitch@Palace, which he founded, and helps entrepreneurs connect with investors and other business people. The 59-year-old said he sees ‘no reason’ why businesses in the UK can’t survive in a post-Brexit landscape. He told ITV News: ‘Businesses we see could be successful either inside a large internal market, or operating in an even larger external market. There are swings and roundabouts to all these sort of things.’ The Duke of York also commented on the controversial recent UK visit of US President Donald Trump, and said Brexit would make ‘no difference’ to ongoing relations. – Daily Mail

Victoria Hewson: No, medicines won’t run out if we leave the EU without a deal

As Conservative leadership candidates debate – or disavow – leaving the EU with no deal, the fears of shortages and disruptions that have circulated since the referendum in 2016 are back in the spotlight once more. People are rightly concerned about the availability of medicines, given that we import billions of pounds worth of pharmaceuticals – mostly from the EU – and timely supply is vital. With the extended exit date of 31 October coming just ahead of winter, some have cited the disruption to the supply of flu vaccines as a risk with huge potential knock on effects. Common fears around medical provisions can be broken down into three main areas: tariffs, regulations and logistics. – Victoria Hewson for the Telegraph (£)

Daniel Cappuro: Dominic Raab can now position himself as the last of the no-deal Brexit diehards – but it may cost him the top job

Dominic Raab had hoped to be the one true Brexiteer. In his leadership campaign, he has taken a hard line and promised to prorogue Parliament, if necessary, to ensure Britain leaves the EU on October 31. Unlike his main rivals, he never voted for the Prime Minister’s deal. Instead, Mr Raab has failed to unite Parliament’s Brexiteers behind him, while his refusal to embrace feminism and proposals for massive tax cuts have added to moderate fears about his support for no deal. All of which has left him floundering in the race to gain endorsements from fellow MPs. It should have been very different. Throughout the months and months of speculation over Theresa May’s future in office, one question came up again and again. Could the Brexiteers in the Conservative Party rally behind a single candidate and who would it be? Boris Johnson, David Davis and Mr Raab quietly jostled for position and the right to lead the Brexit faction. – Daniel Cappuro for the Telegraph (£)

John Redwood: Parliament makes a sensible decision at last on Brexit

Yesterday the combined forces of the Opposition parties united to try to hijack the business of the House in the future to delay or prevent our exit and to ban a so called No deal exit. By 309 votes to 298 votes this proposal was defeated. They wanted time to legislate to stop Brexit or to prevent the government counting the clock down to our exit on 31 October without allowing the Parliament yet another say on the Brexit options. It is traditional for governments to control the business of the House. If a majority builds up in the House against what they are doing then the opposition forces have the right to table and vote on  a motion of No confidence. If the Opposition wins that motion it ends the government’s tenure. The Opposition is not afforded the right to have Parliamentary time to have its own alternative programme of new legislation or its own alternative foreign policy . As it does not enjoy a majority there would be no point in allowing this. It enjoys plenty of time to question, criticise, debate and comment on the government’s approach which is its role. The Opposition is free to table any amendments it likes to government legislation, and free to try to persuade government MPs to join them in amending or opposing it. – John Redwood’s Diary

Hugh Bennett: This leadership contest psychodrama is distracting us from the real Brexit cliffhanger

The gloves have officially come off in the Tory leadership race. Michael Gove tried to shift the media narrative off the cocaine storm that has brought his own leadership challenge to the brink of collapse, by  firing off a salvo directly at “Mr Johnson” at his make-or-break launch on Monday. Rory Stewart also ridiculed Boris Johnson in his own campaign launch yesterday, claiming “Is this the person that you want writing the instructions to the nuclear submarines?” It’s not exactly a surprise that even personal attacks are being deployed for double purposes given that the ‘dirty tricks’ side of the campaign was effectively kicked off by a ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’ that was actually stitched up by two of the candidates behind the others’ backs. Irony is alive and well in the contest. – Hugh Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

The Sun: Boris Johnson insists the EU will give him a better Brexit deal — but what if he’s wrong?

Boris Johnson’s leadership pitch is based on energy and optimism. Fine. What else does he have if his bubble is burst? Boris insists the EU will give him a better Brexit deal because his Government will have fresh vigour and conviction. Failing that it’s No Deal, which he believes MPs lack the bottle to prevent. What if he’s wrong? Tory Remainers certainly seem demented enough to topple their own Government. What if he’s misread Brussels too? The EU must change the backstop if they still want a deal — Theresa May’s is dead. But they may not, hoping to force a second referendum or election. Can Boris risk the latter? If not, what’s his plan? In fairness, none of his rivals has much more of one. That includes Sajid Javid, despite his excellent speech yesterday. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • Hit the road Phil Hammond – Get Britain Out’s Joel Casement for The Commentator
  • The Tory hopefuls have made a no-deal Brexit very real – a new Final Say march will remind them of their duty – Lord Heseltine for the Independent
  • Franco-German tension complicates race for EU’s top jobs – FT (£)